Twin Cities

It was raining when I woke up in Duluth. I’m SO GLAD we decided to go to the lake last night when it was beautiful and clear. By the time we got in touch with our local friend, Jason, he was on his way out of the house, so he told us where the Food Co-op was and I left River in the car while I got some food. I wouldn’t have done that if it were sunny, but it was hoodie weather and I only wanted a few things...

He was fine. Sitting right where I left him, but with his seat belt unbuckled. I wondered if he’s figured out how to unfasten his seatbelt or just did it while fussing around.

Because of the rain, it wasn’t as fun to stop anywhere and run around, but we did, luckily pass by a rest area at a time when the rain had stopped where I could eat some of the food I bought and as I was sitting and mentally rehearsing for class that evening, I got in a phone call with Liz Anema, producer of my Nia class at The Marsh, to check in and make sure I was on track. I also took River for a little jog to a treed area and we explored a bit. There was no view at the rest area, and I don’t really remember much about the drive between Duluth and Roseville.

I didn’t take any pictures until we got to The Marsh.

We got there early and went for a walk on a running path that runs a figure eight behind the building and then over a bridge off into the depths of the marsh. The inside of the building is like a luxury spa resort, with a restaurant and a lounge area and another lounge area and a fitness room. I walked in with River and no one would make eye contact with me. I couldn’t see anything like a reception desk, so I headed for the room where I saw the people exercising and stood by the statue of the naked lady. Liz came down to greet me and many of the students were starting to gather and greet me and River. A tall man came out of the fitness room and went to greet River, but he didn’t like his approach and let out two warning barks that echoed through the spa. We were graciously escorted to the deck to wait outside until our class started. I feel bad for the people that River doesn’t like. I never know what to say, and I’m sure it’s hard not to feel a little hurt by not getting love from a dog, especially when you have just lost your own, recently, like this man had. 

It didn’t spoil anyone’s day, though. One main thing that River has taught me is to always return to relaxation. A moment is only a moment for a moment and then there’s another one.

It was a good sized room with a nice springy floor and lots of mirrors. There was even a stage! I sometimes stood on the stage, but a lot of my choreography was too big for it, so I had to come down to the floor. It was also an interesting challenge to step on and off the stage without interrupting my choreography.

I taught my ROCKIN routine to about 25 Minnetonkans. Three of them were Nia teachers who stayed afterward and engaged in a little shop talk. Tonight was a first, in that I used the same playlist that I used the last time I taught. I have been working on this routine since October of 2011 and this is the first time I haven’t felt the need to switch something. 

Class went very well, by which I mean I didn’t make any stupid errors. But in some respects it was challenging. I was spoiled by the joviality of Billings and none of my wise cracks and jokes were landing in this room. But they did rock with me so well. I guess the average age of the students in the room was 60 and I have a vigorously athletic edge to my classes. They were hanging in there and giving me lots of smiles. I feel like the Rock music was a bit edgy for them and they liked it.

I left River in his crate with the teachers after our powwow so I could take a shower, and then I came back and got him out so we could drive back to the motel.

So far we’ve logged 2243 miles, and I’m over 1000 miles overdue on my scheduled maintenance. I’ve gone down 0.2 on my average miles per gallon. I was holding strong at 30.3 MPG for a long time, but I think it has to do with the type of gas I was able to find in this area. Or I just don’t know which are the good ones yet, because I haven’t heard of any of them before. It was when I started using exclusively Chevron gas that my gas mileage went higher than it had ever been. I had built up to getting 30.3 MPG until I started buying Holiday and SuperAmerica and Marathon. I haven’t yet bought Conoco, and I did find a Shell station once, but mostly I feel like I’m getting cheap gas and I miss Chevron.

And now I'm sitting in my Motel 6 in Roseville Minnesota. It sounds like a street fair going on in the parking lot, like right outside my door. But it’s just ‘the local color’ OMG it sounds like it’s escalating. I’m so glad I didn’t park near the front door this time, I’d be worried about my car out there. Cars are driving and honking and guys are yelling at each other. I’m not sure if it’s friendly or heated. There’s lots of cursing.

OK i just went out there, with River. We saw some friendly guys resting by a moving truck just outside our door, and a third guy on the second floor above my room. They complimented River on how beautiful of a boxer he was but commented that he was too skinny and that I should feed him some bread. We laughed and then headed to the car. I was amazed how quiet it was. I was actually looking forward to seeing what all the activity was. And then I think I heard someone yell something about a bull dog as we walked to the car to get River’s crate and then just the sound of dog barking as we walked back to the room. I dropped off his crate inside and took him for a walk and did some obedience training in the hallways.

As we were coming back in, a very dark and energetic man, who was also involved with the moving truck, was acting all testosterone toward River and making his girlfriend laugh with jokes about how who was going to eat who first. River had no idea no harm was intended, we all laughed, but he was clearly miffed. As they walked off she said, “that wouldn’t work; he’s a vegetarian”.

When we got back into the room I wanted to help River get rid of his obvious frustration at what was going on. I tried the game we saw that black lab playing but I wouldn’t let River join. I slammed the rubber ball on the floor aimed so that it would land on the bed and he got to jump up and jump down to bring me the ball. Or sometimes I’d toss it high above him and he’d jump for it and catch it. He loved the distraction.

The grand finale was a loud, continuous banging like someone pounding on the hood of their car over and over. and then it became more like a thick metal object striking concrete. Someone said something about something being broken and then a man and a woman got into a huge screaming argument and drove off mad.

Now, it is quiet. River is snoring. Whew. That was real.

We’ll leave early tomorrow.


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